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Christmas shopping for your mother-in-law? Read this

Johnny Molloy • Dec 15, 2016 at 12:00 AM

As Christmas lies around the corner, we must start considering Christmas presents to buy for our loved ones. Since I have been married for three years now to my wife Keri Anne, the pressure to buy for her has eased a little bit. And it’s become easier for figuring out presents for Keri Anne’s relatives, too — except for one. Yep, finding the proper gift for my mother-in-law, Eve Sherwood, remains vexing. To find a gift for your mother-in-law is tough, because you know she is going to analyze it from every angle. Here are the questions your mother-in-law may ask about your gift: Did you spend enough? Sometimes it’s the dollars that count and not the thought. Did you really shop for it or did your wife shop for it? If your wife found it, then you squirm in your chair when your mother-in-law opens the gift, and goes through the charade of acting as if you found it for her. Did you wrap the gift? If I wrapped the gift versus Keri Anne wrapping the gift, everyone is going to know who wrapped it. I was considering all the above when I recently stopped in Mahoneys while Christmas shopping. The first thing that caught my eye was a ukulele. Yep, the musical instrument. Outdoors enthusiasts are bringing mini-versions of this musical instrument into the woods and serenading fellow hikers at Appalachian Trail shelters and on the balds of Roan Mountain. No kidding, mini-ukuleles are sweeping the backcountry by storm. The ukuleles come with a tuner and instruction manual. They range from $50-$120. Oh, what laughs I could get seeing my mother-in-law attempting to master the ukulele. Then I spotted fire tinder on a string. It looks like it sounds — a small piece of wood attached to a string. You carry it with you then use your knife to cut wood shavings to start a fire. It only costs $5. That was too cheap, even for my mother-in-law, though it would be funny watching her attempt to start a fire with wood shavings. Nearby, I saw a Zippo hand warmer — the old-fashioned kind that runs on lighter fluid. My mother-in-law might like that, since she recently got a dog and takes it out for walks in the cold. That was too practical. Women don’t like it when you get them practical gifts. I know. A couple of years ago I got Keri Anne a vacuum cleaner as her main Christmas gift and put some rubber dish-washing gloves in her stocking. She didn’t like it one bit. Then I saw a Kung Foon — a metal-and-wood eating utensil. Imagine a fork with a handle made of removable chopsticks. That way if you brought Chinese food with you while backpacking then you could eat it with the chopsticks, yet still have a fork. The Kung Foon comes in its own metal case and runs $11.99. Talk about impractical. In 30 years of backpacking I have taken Chinese food with me a total of zero times. My mother-in-law would appreciate the impracticality of it. Yet re-gifting it would be next to impossible — except to me. What an ingenious plan. Women re-gift things. Men do not. Therefore, at Christmas 2017, I will get my very own Kung Foon.

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